To begin creating your writing platform you will need a foundation just like for a building. The foundation for an author platform is a domain. But what is a domain? How do you get a domain? Why is it so important? Let’s take these questions in order and then discuss aspects of designing your platform to suit your needs.
Without getting too technical, a domain is a name reserved for you on the internet. As the owner of the domain you have administrative control to maintain what will become your site. Registering a domain is usually done on a yearly basis and costs a small fee. You choose the name based on availability.
How you get a domain is a different matter altogether. Many hosting services offer to register the name you choose as part of your hosting plan. For instance, my site is hosted on WordPress.com and when I signed up for my free site, I chose to pay $10 to have WordPress register my domain name. There are just a few services that actually handle the business of registration and maintenance of the internet’s domain database so allowing your hosting service to register for you simplifies the process and allows you to get started sooner with working on your site. However, it may take a few days for your domain to be available across the internet.
Having your own domain is very important for several reasons. First, the name you choose makes your site easily identifiable with you the author and the content you create. Next, it provides you a domain for an email account that solidifies your identity (we’ll discuss email in a later post). Lastly, your domain is under your control so make the decisions about its use and maintenance are yours as long as you own the domain name/site.
So how should you go about obtaining a domain and deciding what to name it? Since there are so many different hosing services available on the internet you should shop around and decide what best suits you. For me, I didn’t want to commit to a long-term contract with hundreds of dollars in expense (or evening a sizable monthly expense otherwise) without having writing income. At the moment, I have some income and it pays for another needs so I chose to go with WordPress.com as a free site (registration is separate). I can at a later time, upgrade my site on WordPress or move it to an independent hosting service. This decision left me the flexibility to grow when I need to do so without a lot of stress to produce income before I was ready.
Naming your domain that is up to you so choose carefully since this will identify you as a professional author. I suggest using something that clearly equates to you so avoid using your novel title at first or a whacky name unless it suits what you are writing. If you want to reserve book titles as domains do so as additions to your main domain (sub-domains may be limited by your contract or cost extra depending on the service you choose). If you are writing a book series, try registering the series when it becomes necessary. My own site is named for me so you know who I am and I feel lends me professionalism. This is especially important if you plan to work with traditional publishers and magazines.
So there you have it, a short discussion on the details of a domain. I hope you have a better understanding of what you should do to acquire one, name it and how to choose a service based on your budget. If you are just beginning, do your research in depth, shop around and proceed with a plan.
If you have a domain, how did you choose your service and name? What ideas can you share with new authors? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.